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Facebook Marketing: Achieving Success by Becoming a Welcomed Guest

The following post was an entry by one of our spectacular finalists in our Awesome Engagement Strategies Contest. Finalists showcased their ideas, and whoever got the most traction (i.e. comments and social shares) within five days of publication was crowned the winner. Check out this post for the complete list of Engagement Strategies Contest finalists!

facebook-successWant to grow your Facebook fan page fast, and receive your daily portions of ego-massage while you are still a newbie?

Here’s how I did it…

Last spring, my friend and I created our first Business Page on Facebook. We were really excited.

But then the question came up – how could we grow it FAST and without investing a lot of money in it?

It was a new venture… no website/service available, just a rough idea to test the market, so we decided to start all activities inside Facebook.

Of course, we followed all the basic Facebook marketing ideas:

  • Invite all your friends, that gave us ~100 fans,
  • Run Facebook ads, $10 investment resulted with 100 extra fans,
  • Tagged our friends and celebrities on pictures – that didn’t work with me so well. (You can make people you tagged really irritated. For example, an Indian artisan tagged me on the picture of his new basket. “Where is the connection?” I wondered, “I don’t like this basket, I don’t want my friends to see it…” It was okay, when he did it once. But when it happened 3-4 times, I cancelled his subscription.) Overall  results from  this tactics were rather poor.
  • “Pay” with a Like. For example, there are special forums in LinkedIn Groups to promote your page. You have a list of participants who will like you after you Liked them. This one is also not my favorite – very time consuming, and people can be offended if you forgot to like them back.

Weeks passed… my friend became busy, so I stayed mostly all alone with our page, keeping updated it daily. Though my dream – to open my account in the morning and see hundreds of new Likes, Fans and comments – remained just a dream. Instead of hundreds of Likes, I was getting 1-2 per day.

But one day the miracle finally happened!!!!!!

It was amazing and inspiring, especially since at first, I didn’t know where all those visitors came from…

I didn’t have any ads running, yet people seemed to find my page in some mysterious way. This happened near the end of the summer, and my page started to grow by 100-150 likes per day, (whereas it used to be 5-10 per week).

And I was sitting and wondering, how did it all come about?

The secret unveiled a bit later and also out of the blue… but let me tell you what happened a month before this magic event.

Back then I was really disappointed with my statistics, low interest to publications (no likes, comments or sharing), low % of fan base growth… So I was inspired to go and search through Facebook groups/pages with similar topics. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of groups that I found, and I decided to post on some of them.

After trying and failing repeatedly, I finally figured out the success formula to becoming a welcomed Facebook guest:

Step 1. Create a wish list of top group/pages

Do it according to the following 3 criteria: topic relevance, group/page size, openness of the group…

Topic relevance – Your wish list should be filled with groups/pages close to your theme, or, in my case, smaller niche pages. Our page is devoted to handmade items, amateur artists and featured designers in any type of art all over the world, so my choice of pages was a certain art discipline (like knitting, or stitching), or artistic ways to recycle trash, or themed craft associations.

Group size – Your ideal target groups should be bigger than you. For example, I chose pages with 15,000-20,000 fans, when my own page had 300-500.

Group openness – Consider those who like and welcome guests by sharing and publishing content from other users. If page has only its own content – bad sign… It still can work as additional traffic resource, but you will never receive the nice nice bonus – a repost of publications from your wall – which is, in fact, your ultimate goal.

Step 2. Be a welcomed and graceful guest

So what should be expected of us as guests?

Add something interesting to the dialogue – Be nice, genuine, behave like an experienced traveler that has bunch of interesting and surprising stories, and is happy to share them with an audience. Your post should be fresh, remarkable and aligned with the values of the group/page.

What I found was always welcomed:

  • Challenging new ideas (really new or not widely published, I used some local resources, or direct information from authors, etc.),
  • New approaches to discussed topics – in our case it is an attitude to the craft not just as a guild but rather a public statement (being green, participating in politics, making cities more cozy to live in),
  • Stories and pictures that stimulate positive emotions and make people smile.

Be polite and respect the host – Don’t behave like a spammer who only shouts out his offers and puts links to his own page. You are a guest, so to be interesting to the host, you must be authentic and it will become your small hook, that will catch audience for your page. It’s like an elevator pitch where your only one goal is to catch attention and make people want to hear more from you.

Be really generous without any expectations – I would suggest that you think of this activity as a random act of kindness without expecting anything in return. Returns will follow – they did for me, most of the time. But make sure you remember my previous point. Don’t do it like – “hi, I like your page, come and like mine”! Be creative! And don’t be offended if the moderators don’t react to your publications. It’s okay, it’s part of an experiment.

Step 3. Be always prepared for unexpected guests

Make your own page juicy, interesting and be ready for sudden visitors and reposts. That will bring you the traffic that I mentioned at the beginning of my story. Yes, it’s your reward, and maybe it will be anonymous. Just enjoy the results of your hanging out.

natalia-screenshot

After your several successful “guest” publications (if they collected a lot of likes and shares) you will catch attention of the moderators of the page where you wrote your post, and they will come and return you a visit. If you have a lot of content on your page that is close to what they’ve already seen in your posts be sure, they will share your publications. And that is a moment when miracle, which I described at the beginning, happened – unexpected buzz and likes.

One nice bonus of this tactics – reactions on bigger pages for sure are more genuine and bring more likes. That will nurture your ego and you will get a necessary enthusiasm to continue with your own page – and continue using Facebook for business.

About Natalia Goloskokova

Natalia Goloskokova [ngoloskokova (at) gmail (dot) com] - founder of the International Handmade Organization (IHO). IHO is a nonprofit organization (click here to see us on Facebook). We want to support Art and Culture in all countries around the World. We believe that our activity can change the World and help many people to live a life devoted to and in service to their ART, without compromises.

136 comments

  1. Thank you for the great article and practical tips. I haven’t really understood how Facebook could help to grow my traffic but you described it in an easy and understandable way!

  2. Umm… WHOA.

    Had never even thought of this. Such a great idea! I am more than happy to contribute to conversations and occasionally throw out a promo. Even if members aren’t interested, perhaps they know someone who is! I think that’s super important: finding not just the people who will buy what you’re offering, but the people who will gladly share your message with others for free (and then offer them a nice referral fee as a thank you!) 😀

  3. Just starting to build my business Facebook page. This is great advice for a novice Facebook marketer.

    The advice is neatly outlined in steps to keep an A-type like myself smug but ensures natural and authentic results so that the readership stays engaged and interested.

    Bookmark now!

  4. Thanks so much for this article, Natalia. I have had it bookmarked for ages and not had the chance to read it until now. I think you make some great points. I’ve been using Twitter and Google+ mainly for the past year and haven’t really invested my time in Facebook. I understand the pain and depression of having only around 100 likes because that is where I am currently- despite managing a client’s page with over 3000 likes!

    I love the idea of a wish list in step 1. I had a question for you in terms of how you actually do this. Have you created a Facebook list, or is it group or just a list of pages you’ve noted down somewhere? I’d be really interested in how you do this and how you went about interacting with these pages on a daily basis.

    Thanks again!

  5. I definitely agree those ‘I like you, you like me back’ networking opportunities are not very good. The focus should be on *engagement*, not on numbers. Quality not quantity. Yes, you want to grow your Facebook fan page but you also want the fans to be relevant to you and your niche. Not random people who ‘like’ your page! Slow and honest engagement strategies are the best way to go. Organic growth and exposure with your right audience. This is why I like to say ‘I don’t market, I engage’, which arguably is a form of marketing. But I like to think of it as unmarketing.

    1. Hi Janet, first of all thank you for you comment, glad to see you here:)
      Agree with you, engagement is an essential part of any building relationships strategy, at the same time it’s always nice to have some strategies in a pocket how you can increase your exposure on the market.
      And I would like to say something in order to support marketing as a discipline- marketing is all about adding value to a life of your consumers by solving their problems and making their life more intersting, creating mutually beneficial relationships, that is marketing – not just advertising or any kind of manipulation. Engagement is an important part of building relationships with your clients, and for me it’s not so important how you call it, marketing (anti-marketing, new markeitng) , more important what kind of meaning you put inside this activity).

    1. Hi Dwayne, very interesting blog you have and topic is really nice – uncoventional thinkers, love it! Back to your question- did i understand you correct, that you are asking how you can get guest to your own blog? If yes, the best i think – is to join diferent communities and groups close to your topic and invite people to make guest blogs (i mean groups like that – http://suitcaseentrepreneur.com/change/). I am a part of $100 change and can write to some of participants about your initiative:) so will be waiting for your reply.

      1. thanks for you quick feedback. My question was more like how to accept content from users to publish on my facebook. Either way I appreciate it and I’ll take a look at your group. 🙂

  6. I couldn’t realize that I touched so many russian wisedom quotes, cool, thank you very much. Правда, даже не задумывалась, что столько всего может к моей статье подойти, СПАСИБО!

  7. Привет, Наталья! Мне ОЧЕНЬ понравилась твоя статья.
    Сама того не подозревая, ты в своих действиях использовала веками выработанную народную мудрость.
    Я могу подтвердить твои слова русскими пословицами и поговорками
    (твои слова – на англ., а пословицы -на русском):
    Weeks passed… But one day the miracle finally happened!!!!!!
    “Все приходит вовремя для того, кто умеет ждать”.

    After trying and failing repeatedly, I finally figured out the success formula
    “Дорогу осилит идущий”. “Умение в работе родится”.

    Be a welcomed and graceful guest
    “Не уставай делать добро”.

    Be really generous without any expectations
    Returns will follow..
    “Живи для людей, поживут и люди для тебя”.

    Ну, и в заключение мое мнение (тоже пословица):
    “Коротко да ясно, оттого и прекрасно”.

  8. Thanks Natalia for sharing your insight. I will keep your suggestions in mind and see how good they work in intranet communities.
    Do you have experience with creating buzz in intranets of larger cooperations as well or can suggest a good source of information?
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Engywuck, sorry, i can’t say smth about intranet, never used it, I think you can try to read other contestents articles, there are a lot of interesting approaches. Videos can work for sure, and also if you can reach the person by simply going to him/her or calling, not writing, just do it:)

  9. Clear article, precise and really useful.
    I agree with most of comments that it can be used on any social network and not only FB.
    It is valuable to think creative! The article motivates by smth innovative. Very nice, Natash.

  10. Forgive the newbie question, but is it possible to use a Business Page to make all the posts which you are talking about? or must these posts come from a personal page?

  11. Natasha, thank you so much for smart, kind and proactive strategy! I’m sure it’ll be useful to those who want to change our life for better. In the Internet space there are so many ‘junk’ personal pages and walls. Your marvelous topic will attract people who really want and can think and create. Moreover it gives very wise tips for cultural communication in the net and this is what we miss so much today in our daily relations with each other. I’m a fun of your Handmade project. Thank you for not only doing right things, but also sharing your experience.

  12. Thanks for your wonderful support. I’m going to save your email and contact you when I get a little farther down the road. I am recovered and I do want to talk about making a success of the recovery process on the Facebook page.

    1. yes, success and also faith, ways how to go through fear, or in my case, when i was once in hospital… for me was very important to stop attacking myself and forgive myself for smth that happen, so that I can move forward and recover.
      anyway, i am glad to meet you here and let’s be in touch.
      Natalia

      1. Natalia – you are creating such a buzz with this post – it’s Day 3 and not abating. I’m so impressed. And you are generously answering everyone. Well done, you. Especially as I can hear your accent through the writing – it’s obviously not your first language but please don’t change: the ‘voice’ is delightful.
        Well done, Danny, for selecting you, also.

        1. Thank you, Bobbie, you are right, english is not my first language, my native one is russian:) I know, i need to work on my english:) but i try to do my best. and to be honest – it was my first article in english:)
          I am really thankfull to Danny and Megan for this opportunity, and for reminder that Megan sent to all of us, like “today is the last day for sending your articles”, it was a call to sit to the table and write it:)

  13. Hope you are fully recovered from your illness, Suzanne! that’s definitely the theme that’s worth to be spread out, in our world when people prefer to talk more about problems or how they are unhappy with treatment they’ve got from doctors, your success story will be definietly very valued and appreciated, especially for those who are going through same situation. If you need any help about your page, you can always write me ngoloskokova@gmail.com.

  14. I loved your article. I’m getting ready to start a facebook fan page and am trying to get some strategies of find friends. I went to your website and l0ved it (I also “liked” it..

      1. It will be about recovering from a severe illness or accident. My daughter and I are writing a memoir about when I was hospitalized for six months after my stomach ruptured. I want the facebook page to start discussions with people who are going through the recovery and rehabilitation process.

  15. So far this has been my favourite of the contest entries as it’s completely relevant to what I’m interested in doing once I get my business page on FB set up. I’d been wondering how to get other relevant FB pages to know about me and hopefully Like my page so that my postings go into their news feeds and they will repost my content. I’m going to begin compiling a list of FB pages which fit the criteria you’ve mentioned so I’m ready to go once my own page is up and running. Many thanks!

    1. thank you , Akharoh Omoifo Ibrahim:) that’s a great question, i need to formalize it, so will write a little bit later here, for me these surfing and searching is so natural, that i do it automatically:)

      1. the easiest way is to go to search on FB and tap keywords you are intersted in, and then go through groups, look what’s going on that pages, who is posting else on them, and you will arrive to your target list.

  16. Hi Natalia! Thanks for asking and I am happy to share. I have never shared a FB post outside of FB before so, if this link doesn’t work, you can visit my page, click on the album “Timeline Photos” and it’s the image about “Tudoring.” In addition to the direct shares from my page, two different people told me they saw the image, which was sent to me by a family member who saw it in Louisiana, on someone’s page with my comments, but without being shared from my page! A good way to curb this from happening is by doing what Grammarly does and putting your website URL in the bottom corner of all your original images.

    At any rate, I post a lot of grammar tips, inspirational tidbits and helpful hints
    on writing and marketing. As such, members of my social media network will often send me examples they come across of poor grammar and writing, as well as horrible marketing! That’s how I received this photo and my comment along with it, apparently, was very popular 😉

    1. Thank you, Kimberly:) yes, you can share posts from facebook:) tudoring -it’s really funny:) by the way, thank you for mentioning grammarly, i ‘ve never heard about it before, and for me, as a non-english person it will be very valueable, and i will read your posts too. You have great combination of skills -writing +marketing, really cool!!!!

      1. Thanks for following me on Facebook! Great to have you on board. If you ever have a grammar question, just message me. It’s my passion! I recommend following Grammarly as well as a site called Grammar Girl. I follow both on Facebook and Twitter and always kick myself for not thinking of creating these sites first 🙂

        1. Thank you, thank you, Kimberly! maybe there is still a free space left for you existis (grammar for boys, grammar for ladies, etc:) I will for sure try to use both sites you’ve mentioned and very glad to meet you here!

  17. Thank you, Kimberly for your post. I tried to find this post on your page, was very curious to see you miracle, but didn’t understand which one. Can you drop me a link, please? And of course, you need to engage, but your responsibility to promote it too)

  18. I too have a fan page, for my writing business, so I appreciated your helpful tidbits. I try to post relevant daily tidbits that tie back in to the services I offer. I like to make these posts humurous, inspiring and/or educational.

    One such post was found so clever, original and funny that my fans (I only had barely 100 at the time) started to share it on their own pages. Then, my own miracle happened: those people started to share it. In less than a week, I received more than 4,000 shares of that post when my most popular post before that had only received 11. This earned my another 150 followers, which was 150% of my original number of followers. Just for one post!

    So, I think the key is to engage…post stuff people want, whether on your own page or someone else’s and people will share you with their own networks.

  19. Наталья, твоя статья очень интересная. Я уверена, что твои идеи будут очень полезными для меня. Спасибо тебе!

  20. Thanks for the detailed tactics Natalia. I have a Facebook business page but I’ve struggled with growth, and it’s refreshing to read your formula for success. I’ve never heard of guest posting for Facebook, but your strategy makes perfect sense, and it obviously works! I will experiment with your formula, and I’m looking forward to building my own engaged Facebook community.

    And best of luck with the contest:)

  21. Thank you so much, Carmello! I am enjoying this contest really very-very much, and one of the reason is because of people, who are participating in discussion, tweeting, sharing. You know, there are so many amazing people around.
    Your topic – i liked your website and style of writing, will read tonight more:) about what your critters can teach us:) i think they want to go out and make some visits to different homes;)

  22. Hi Natalia,

    First, congratulations on being in the finalists for the “engagement” contest here. Good luck! And what a great addition it is. 🙂 One can’t do everything, of course, but facebook certainly can’t be ignored … at least to the extent of giving it a good try! My page http://www.facebook.com/critterwisdom is a fledgling little old page that I haven’t known what to do with! Ugh.

    It’s a shame to let it languish … wouldn’t you agree? (my critters will want to abandon me)

    1. Thank you so much, Carmello! I am enjoying this contest really very-very much, and one of the reason is because of people, who are participating in discussion, tweeting, sharing. You know, there are so many amazing people around.
      Your topic – i liked your website and style of writing, will read tonight more:) about what your critters can teach us:) i think they want to go out and make some visits to different homes;)

  23. Natalia,
    What a great post! I really appreciate this post as I’ve been struggling with finding ways to increase my page followers. I have a question, do you have both a business page and personal page, and were you guest posting from your personal page with a redirect back to your business page?

    1. Bill, strange, I pretty sure I answered your comment, but i will reply once again! I have both – personal profile and business page, I used for guest posts my page and make posts from it name, because it was exactly the place where i wanted people to come.

  24. Sounds like a great strategy, in line with what Danny was teaching yesterday on his webinar. I can see the rationale in your choice of groups. Helpful stuff. Thank you, Natalia.

  25. Hi Natalia,

    This is fantastic! First time I have heard someone talk about “guest posting” for Facebook. I particularly like your approach – find some appropriate groups/pages and go out to interact with them just for “goodness”… and if more stuff comes from it, double the bonus!

    This is a post I will come back to again.

    Carol

  26. Hi,

    I´m a brazilian read this blog for great strategies and u wrote a excellent strategy, because u focus on organic area to grow and the most curses, book and blogs rarely touch in this topic.

    tks a lot.

    1. Thank you, Cesar:) you are right, this strategy was born from my different experiments, and only i got how it worked i put it on paper:) good luck, we always need to try to do smth new if we want to get new results:)

  27. I am sorry, I personally don’t know how to solve this problem, i will search for answer and if i find good tip, will be back to you, Donna! Did you try to write to tech help of Facebook, usually they reply very quickly.

    1. Natalia,

      Thanks for your response. Yes I tried to write to FB but my problem did not seem to fit into any of their categories so my question was rejected.

        1. Natalia,

          It is my private profile page.

          This is the email I received from FB:
          “Hi DonnaJoy ,
          It looks like someone else may have accessed your Facebook account, so we’re protecting it with an extra security challenge. For your privacy, your account is also temporarily hidden from the site.
          To recover your account, please log into Facebook and follow the instructions provided.
          Thanks,
          The Facebook Security Team”

          I tried to follow the instructions but could not remember the answer to my security question .
          Thank you for your assistance. DonnaJoy

          1. Natalia,

            Thank you so much for your help. Unfortunately, I have tried all of your suggestions but none seem to work. I even called my email service provider, as suggested in your suggested video and that did not work. I can’t seem to get to the screen where I can ask any of my friends to help. I appreciate your efforts. In time I will find an answer. Thank you again.

  28. Does anyone here know how to fix a FB security problem. I was locked out because someone tried to hack my FB page and I cannot seem to fix it or find someone who knows how to. I would appreciate it if anyone knows how to do this. Thanks in advance.

    1. DonnaJoy, have you solved your problem, i am still waiting for some answers, seems like its smth not standard, but maybe you don’t need it anymore? and you didn’t answer was it your private profile or business/fan page

  29. Wow, Natalia, thank you so much for this! I hadn’t thought of using this strategy & great to see your success with it. I particularly love the idea of being generous with no expectations 🙂
    Claire

  30. Strategy will always be the best way to succeed!

    If your engagement has the strategic look to it, just put in the hard work.

    Facebook likes I am always working on and your points can certainly help me out more 🙂

  31. Great post Natalia! I’m right at the beginning with 61 likes and looking at all the different ways I can try and grow and understand the ‘lie of the land’ in the facebook world and how it works!

  32. Natalia, you’re advice has been awesome. Natalia has been coaching me with the launch of my new product and facebook page.

    Alongside with this advice, she has helped me specify ideal groups and different innovative strategies to how to use other social media platforms such as Facebook, Google Plus, Xing and Linkedin, to reach out to them

  33. We found success with our Facebook page by holding a competition; this went down well and we’ve been getting plenty of likes ever since. We also post daily pictures up and fun little competitions to keep our customers entertained. It’s all in good fun and it, probably, assists sales a little bit.

  34. Brilliant advice. The more you help others the better. It’ll all come back to you eventually. Facebook is so crowded these days, but I truly believe that your tips help anyone to stand out from the crowd and thrive.

  35. What can I say??? When you want something you shoud go for it, regardless of the difficulties. Natalia understood that and she’s effort was awarded…she reminded me to one important thing…”never give up”…so, I shall try to keep that in my head, all the time…I have one page on facebook, but I really didnt know what to do to attract people to come and like it…Natalia gave me some ideas…so, thank you …article is great :)))…just go forward:)))

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